Performance artist Jonathan Doyle, 29, who splits his time between Keene and Manhattan, was booted from the halfway point of Mt. Monadnock last fall after he was caught stalking Bigfoot on the trail. Doyle and his costumed friends — he won’t reveal who Bigfoot was except that he is a “well-known local figure” — were asked to leave by park manager Patrick Hummel, who said they did not have a permit to make a Sasquatch movie with their tiny HD camcorder. A few weeks earlier Doyle had climbed Monadnock alone and put the costume on at the summit, where he filmed hikers’ giddy reactions. Park rangers did not bother him then, nor ask him for a permit, he says, and he has filed a complaint with the N.H. Civil Liberties Union, arguing his freedom of expression has been violated. Doyle, who identifies as a Libertarian on his Facebook page, demands an official apology and permission to return to the mountain. First appearing in the Keene Sentinel, Doyle’s plight has since gone national with buzz fueled by NPR, the Associated Press and Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show” Web site.What inspired you to explore your inner beast? I wanted to break people out of their comfort zones. The top of the mountain is a real meeting point, but people still stick to their own circles. There’s no real connection between strangers. When I put the costume on and started walking around, everyone was laughing and pointing and began talking to each other.Did you scare any unsuspecting hikers to death?
No, actually when we approached people and asked them if they would like to talk about any Bigfoot sightings on Mt. Monadnock, most people were glad to talk with us. We didn’t run into anyone who acted irritated or felt we had encroached on their day hike.What’s your personal connection to Bigfoot?
There were these guys (in Georgia) who said they caught Bigfoot and had his body in a freezer. It was a hoax, but the possible capture was all over the news [in 2008]. I wanted my film to be an “absurdist fantasy” mocking this story.It is difficult to hike up the mountain in costume?
Definitely tough to roam around in. The Bigfoot feet are like rubber slippers so your feet take a pounding. But it’s for the love of the art!Where did you buy your costume?
At the iParty store in Keene. But I plan on making my own Bigfoot provided there’s funding and enough interest.Why, is something wrong with your costume right now?
The back of the suit has a long slit in it that ties up at the top. It’s very noticeable and that’s why you won’t see any camera shots from behind.— Interview by Darren Garnick (See Jonathan Doyle’s Bigfoot videos at www.NYCreator.com)
This article appears in the February 2010 issue of New Hampshire Magazine